Brian De Palma does great work in adapting Stephen King’s novel, making it a lot leaner and more stylish.
Gone are the endless asides and breaks in the narrative to reflect on the climax before it ever happened. Instead, De Palma focuses on building up the characters, giving the film a nice unclouded simplicity. De Palma’s direction feels very deliberate, as every scene and shot seems to have specific purpose (while not skimping on style), a welcome change from King’s muddier novel. There’s so much technical skill on display that the movie really transcends just being a cheap and cheesy exercise in shlocky horror.
Sissy Spacek gives a transformative performance, excellent stuff, embodying the role with great physicality. Piper Laurie’s melodramatic performance is entertaining, though it feels a bit tonally off at times given Spacek’s more earnest take on the material.
It’s a great adaptation, slimming down to the novel to the core elements that play well on film, done with a lot of style and care. I give it four buckets, and a book on sewing.